Why is internet slow in Pakistan? What can ISPs do?

A journey towards a faster, seamless online experience! In a world where connectivity is paramount, let’s explore the avenues transforming Pakistan’s internet landscape.

Why is internet slow in Pakistan?

Pakistan is a country with a population of over 200 million people, but its internet speed is far from impressive. According to the Speedtest Global Index, Pakistan ranks 126th in the world for mobile broadband speed, with an average of 16.67 Mbps, and 149th for fixed broadband speed, with an average of 13.71 Mbps. These numbers are well below the global averages of 54.26 Mbps and 96.98 Mbps, respectively.

Also Read: Cable internet rates go up by 20% in Pakistan amid rising costs

Many people in Pakistan complain about the slow internet speed, especially when they want to stream or download high-resolution videos, such as 4K. They often blame the lack of infrastructure or capacity for the poor performance of the internet.

However, this is not entirely true. Pakistan has access to several submarine cables that provide high-speed internet connectivity to the rest of the world.

For example, Jazz, one of the leading telecom operators in Pakistan, owns Transworld (TWA), which operates the submarine cables TW-1 and SMW-5. These cables have a combined capacity of over 40 terabits per second, which is more than enough to meet the demand of the Pakistani market.

Also Read: Internet Shutdown in Pakistan ahead of PTI’s Imran Khan virtual jalsa: How It Affects People

So, if Pakistan has the capacity, why is the internet still slow? The answer lies in the way the internet service providers (ISPs) manage the bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred over a network in a given time.

ISPs can control the bandwidth by throttling, which means limiting the speed or amount of data that a user can access. ISPs in Pakistan often throttle the bandwidth for various reasons, such as:

  • To reduce the cost of providing internet service. Bandwidth is not expensive, but it is not free either. ISPs have to pay for the bandwidth they use from the submarine cable operators or other upstream providers. If they do not throttle the bandwidth, users will consume more data, and ISPs will have to pay more for the bandwidth. This will either reduce their profit margin or increase the price of the internet service for the users.
  • To prevent network congestion. Network congestion occurs when the demand for bandwidth exceeds the supply. This can cause delays, packet loss, and poor quality of service. ISPs may throttle the bandwidth to avoid network congestion and ensure a fair distribution of bandwidth among all users. However, this may also result in a lower speed or quality of service for some users, especially those who use data-intensive applications, such as video streaming or gaming.
  • To comply with the regulations or policies of the government or other authorities. ISPs may throttle the bandwidth to block or restrict access to certain websites or content that are deemed illegal, immoral, or harmful by the government or other authorities. For example, ISPs in Pakistan have to block access to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms during certain times or events, such as protests, elections, or religious festivals. This may affect the overall speed and quality of the internet service for the users.

Also Read: How Pakistan IXP is Boosting the Local Internet Ecosystem in Pakistan

These are some of the reasons why ISPs in Pakistan throttle the bandwidth and why the internet is slow in Pakistan. However, this does not mean that there is no hope for improvement. ISPs can adopt better strategies to manage the bandwidth, such as:

  • To increase the penetration of fiber-optic networks. Fiber-optic networks are faster, more reliable, and more secure than copper or wireless networks. They can provide higher bandwidth and lower latency for the users. ISPs in Pakistan should invest more in expanding and upgrading their fiber-optic networks to improve the internet speed and quality for the users.
  • To offer different packages or plans for different users. ISPs in Pakistan should offer more options and flexibility for the users to choose the internet service that suits their needs and preferences. For example, ISPs can offer different packages or plans based on the speed, data limit, price, or quality of service. Users who want faster or unlimited internet can pay more for the premium packages, while users who want cheaper or limited internet can opt for the basic packages. This way, ISPs can cater to the diverse needs and demands of the users and optimize the use of the bandwidth.
  • To prioritize the users and the content. ISPs in Pakistan should prioritize the users and the content based on their importance, relevance, or value. For example, ISPs can prioritize the users who are using the internet for essential or critical purposes, such as education, health, or business, over the users who are using the internet for entertainment or leisure purposes, such as gaming, social media, or video streaming. Similarly, ISPs can prioritize the content that is more useful, informative, or beneficial for the users, such as news, education, or health, over the content that is less useful, informative, or beneficial for the users, such as ads, spam, or malware. This way, ISPs can ensure a better quality of service for the users and the content that matter the most.

Also Read: How to improve your internet connection speed in Pakistan?

These are some of the ways that ISPs in Pakistan can improve the internet speed and quality for the users. However, this also requires the cooperation and collaboration of the government, the regulators, the industry, and the users.

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The government and the regulators should create a conducive and competitive environment for the ISPs to operate and innovate. The industry should adopt the best practices and standards for the internet service delivery and management. The users should be aware and responsible for their internet usage and behavior. Together, they can make the internet faster and better in Pakistan.

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